Returning home after eight grilling hours in a recording studio where vocal lines were re-worked, and the “mixing process” carefully observed for my upcoming new album, The Joys of Christmas, I asked myself “Why now?” Why, when the label “senior citizen” fits perfectly with the glaring birth date on my birth certificate? Is it for money? No! Is it for fame? I don’t think so! Is it to keep busy? No! Then . . . why? The answers did not come easy.
HERE ARE A FEW
Mamie Smith grew up independent, precocious and over-confident. She loved the piano, but entered college, lacking the skills to become the piano major written on her college application. Her experiences included: self-taught from very simple first and second year piano books, one year of being coached by a teacher and banged-out tunes during church services.
Vocal training was “singing in the school choir because she would learn the music, not because she had a good voice.” It only took the first week in college to learn how ill-equipped she was. Walking past practice rooms in the Music Department, she saw piano majors playing with more skills than she had ever seen or imagined! In fact, her newly learned friend, a freshman like herself, was the best piano major in the entire freshman class. But . . . one thing she had going for herself was, the three p’s: patience, persistence and perseverance. But . . . were they enough?
FAILURE . . . SUCCESS? MAYBE
Young Mamie would endure failure, embarrassment and humiliation. Remedial piano classes slapped her in the face, required vocal classes had classmates laughing at her presentations, and making the honor roll eluded her. In spite of all of that, she excelled in other classes. The second quarter saw her vocal skills improving enough to be placed in the traveling choir by the Head of the Music Department, and urged by her piano teacher to change her major from piano to voice. Later, she became under-study to the best soprano in the Music Department. Wow! Things were looking up, and by third quarter, her name appeared on the honor roll with a 3 point plus average.
TEACHER AND PERFORMER
After graduating from college as a vocal music teacher and getting a Masters in Vocal Music Education, Smith traveled the world, performed as a soloist, sang in numerous choirs and operettas, and taught thousands of students across America and Okinawa, Japan vocal music. Later, she returned to Wayne State University in Michigan and earned a Doctorate in Administration. In all of her experiences, a desire to become a recording artist never entered her mind. Decades later, when internationally-known Saxophonist Duane Parham convinced her to record a Single, entitled You Raise Me Up, she reluctantly took the leap. Now . . . look for her first album , The Joys of Christmas this Christmas (2020).
The Joys of Christmas will consist of five (5) songs: Silent Night, Joy to the World, Sweet Little Jesus Boy, O Holy Night and You Raise Me Up.
Dr. Smith’s love for young musicians and a keen desire to “give back” caused her to invite college student Ivana Butler as a guest on the album. Pre-Release Date is scheduled for December 22, 2020.